NFL Teams Need to Start Planning for the Future, Even if it is not 2010

October 28, 2009

There are a few NFL teams that have lost seasons, and they need to start planning for the future not.

In Tennessee, Titans Owner Bud Adams has requested that back-up Quarterback Vince Young be inserted into the starting lineup, as the team fell to 0-6 with an embarrassing loss to New England. Head Coach Jeff Fisher has stood beside veteran Kerry Collins, and will continue to start Collins for the time being. (Editor’s Note #2: As of Thursday 10/29, Coach Jeff Fisher has decided to go with Vince Young as the starter.)

In Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers like what they have seen out of Quarterback Josh Johnson, but they are still winless. They drafted Josh Freeman in the first round in this past year’s draft, figuring him to be the future of the franchise. However, the team all of the sudden begins to think that Johnson might truly be their quarterback of the future. (Editor’s Note: So after about an hour of writing this article, Tampa Bay has decided to start rookie Quarterback Josh Freeman.)

In Carolina, Head Coach John Fox continues to stick with Jake Delhomme at quarterback, despite the ever-rising number of turnovers that he is producing. For the first time since 2003, Fox actually wavered that he may soon make a change at quarterback. Instead, he will choose to stick by his man, over backups A.J. Feeley and Matt Moore.

While these are just three examples of teams sticking with a certain quarterback, these teams need to begin to see what else they have on the depth chart. The Titans need to see if Vince Young is capable of being the starting quarterback, or if they might need to move him in the offseason.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers need to see if their money was well worth it when they drafted Josh Freeman. If your team is going nowhere, and you used a first round pick, its time to see what the new guy has.

In Carolina, Jake Delhomme has been the best quarterback in the franchise’s history, but you need to see if the guys you have on the roster could be an answer, specifically with Matt Moore, who went 2-1 in 2007, when Delhomme suffered the elbow injury.

In all three of these cases, Delhomme, Collins, and Johnson could still end up starting in 2010. However, it is time to see if you need to plan on spending a high draft choice on a future quarterback now, or continue to develop one of the guys you have now.

So instead of leading your franchise into purgatory by sticking with the veteran a little too long, with all three team’s seasons being lost, look to the future now rather than in the future, when you could be winning.


Podcast for October 27, 2009

October 28, 2009

James and Shawn talk the tipoff to the NBA season, the BCS 10, and Carolina Panther’s news out of the NFL.

Podcast for Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Travel Concerns for Tennessee

October 26, 2009

If you are heading up to Knoxville, Tennessee for this weekend’s game between the Gamecocks and the Volunteers, make sure you give yourself a little extra time.

Interstate 40 near the Tennessee-North Carolina border has been shut down due to a rock slide, meaning you cannot go that way.

For someone who regularly goes to Knoxville, this is a significant detour and will add length to the travel.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation suggests that motorists travelling on I-40 should take I-240 West to I-26 West out of Asheville, to Johnson City, TN. Then take I-81 South back to I-40.

Basically what this means is that you will need to take I-26 West (from Columbia) all the way up to the Johnson City/Bristol area, then I-81 South to I-40 East which will take you into Knoxville.

In total, it adds about an extra hour and a half travel time and an extra 100 miles to the trip, so we encourage you to plan accordingly.

As soon as more information is released, we will let you know.

4/25/2010 Update:  As of 6 pm on Sunday, April 25th, NCDOT has reopened I-40 in both directions.

Gamecocks Find Their Offensive Trinity

October 26, 2009

© 2009 Shawn Rourk

Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin.  Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James and Marvin Harrison.  Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush and Dwayne Jarrett.  These are all football trinities that people associate with offensive success.

It looks like South Carolina may have finally found their trinity for the future:  Stephen Garcia, Kenny Miles and Alshon Jeffery.

Quarterback Stephen Garcia has had high expectations from fans and his head coach Steve Spurrier since he arrived in 2007.  Off-the-field issues delayed his debut giving him his redshirt season.  From there, his leadership role was delayed another year as he competed for time in Spurrier’s famous 2008 quarterback carousel with Chris Smelley and Tommy Beecher.

The offseason before the 2009 season, a pair of transfers (Chris Smelley to Alabama and Tommy Beecher to Liberty) vaulted Stephen Garcia to the top as the undisputed quarterback leader.  His 2008 playing time was littered with bad decisions and mistakes, throwing eight interceptions to go along with his six touchdowns.

The 2009 season shows a growing maturity for the young redshirt sophomore quarterback.  He has learned to control the ball, trust his receivers and decide when and where to run the ball.  In the eight games played this season, he has thrown for eleven touchdowns and only four interceptions.  He has also shown the ability to make smart plays on his feet, some of which helped solidify victories for the Gamecocks.  He has truly grown into the leader every Carolina fan has been waiting for.

The running back has been a position of desperation for the Gamecocks for years.  While they have had solid runners in Cory Boyd and Mike Davis in the Spurrier era, they hadn’t found a game-breaker to trust in the backfield… until now.

Redshirt freshman running back Kenny Miles has taken control of the running game for the Gamecocks, changing the face of their offense by providing a much needed sense of a ground game.  He entered the season competing with junior Brian Maddox and true freshman Jarvis Giles.

Miles set himself apart from the pack with such meaningful performances against Florida Atlantic and South Carolina State.  In the six games he has acquired stats in this season, which includes three starts, he has rushed for 410 yards and a touchdown while averaging over five yards per carry and twice reached the rare Gamecock achievement of a 100-yard rushing game.  While the numbers aren’t national news, Miles certainly provides and spark of confidence in the running game that can help bring a balanced attack for the Gamecocks offense now and in the future.

The third part of this offensive trinity for South Carolina comes in the form of true freshman wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.  The past few games this young man has played in have made people believe a true superstar is being born right before our eyes.

It is rare to see a true freshman make such an impact on a team and a fan base, especially so quickly.  But Jeffery has shown college football fans and experts across the nation what he is truly capable of.

The past four games have given Jeffery the title of “go-to receiver” for the Gamecocks, as well as the team lead in receiving yards.  Over this season the true freshman has accumulated twenty-four receptions 443 yards and five touchdowns.  These games include a 138-yard, three touchdown performance against Kentucky and 161-yard game capped with a 43-yard game-winning touchdown versus Vanderbilt.

These three players have provided consistency, talent and clutch performances that have helped push South Carolina to a 6-2 record that included a win over the then-number 4 team in the nation, Ole Miss.

But even more than their on-field performances, these three players provide youth, hope and a future of success to this talent-filled Gamecock club.  Gamecock fans can expect to hear the names Garcia, Miles and Jeffery for a long time to come and expect a new sense of offensive consistency this program has not seen under Steve Spurrier.  The 2009 season introduces the Gamecocks new offensive trinity:  Stephen Garcia, Kenny Miles and Alshon Jeffery.

Gamecocks Snap Two-Game Losing Streak to Vanderbilt

October 25, 2009
© 2009 Shawn Rourk

© 2009 Shawn Rourk

In a night seemingly full of close games, South Carolina avoided a shocking upset.  The Gamecocks narrowly escaped the clutches of the Vanderbilt Commodores winning 14-10 and avoiding the would-be third straight loss to this SEC East foe.

South Carolina had made a trend of beating Vanderbilt going into tonight’s game having won fourteen of the eighteen games between the two teams.  The bitter-sweet side to that story comes from the past two years, where Vanderbilt upset the Gamecocks.

Once again, as if it’s a tradition, the Gamecocks came out stagnant, also dead to start the game.  The team’s energy started at an all-time low.  Luckily for South Carolina, the team would come back and keep themselves active in the game.

Tonight’s game was a rarity based on the fact that no turnovers were made by either side.  Both quarterbacks, Stephen Garcia for the Gamecocks and Larry Smith for the Commodores, had interceptions dropped.  Gamecocks’ running back Kenny Miles also avoided a turnover on a fumble that was reviewed and overturned.

South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier said after the game, “Vanderbilt had a lot of yards, but they didn’t get a lot of points.  Neither team had a turnover.  When was the last time you saw a game like that?  It was a lot of punting, and (Gamecocks punter Spencer) Lanning punted well.”

This game was not what many South Carolina fans had expected.  Not a single point was scored in the first quarter.  The first score was a touchdown pass from Stephen Garcia to wide receiver DL Moore midway through the second quarter.

The lead for the Gamecocks disappeared as soon as it came into existence when Vanderbilt running back Warren Norman returned the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown, tying the game at seven.

Scoring resumed in the third quarter, but not the way the Gamecocks were hoping.  Vanderbilt kicker Ryan Fowler kicked a 21-yard field goal.

Through the rough offensive game for South Carolina, a few bright spots shined through in the forms of Kenny Miles and freshman sensation wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.  Miles finished the game with 102 yards and averaged 5.7 yards per carry.  Jeffery had eight receptions for 161 yards and a touchdown that came early in the fourth quarter.

Alshon’s touchdown gave South Carolina a 14-10 lead that would hold through the end.

Quarterback Stephen Garcia continues to show his growing maturity by passing for 312 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.

Remarkably for the Gamecocks, they came away victorious without even taking a single snap in the red zone.  As if that was not a hurdle within itself, the team was also pinned inside the 5-yard line by Commodore punter Brett Upson twice.

“We’ve won five conference games at home in a row,” Spurrier said, “I like that.  We got six wins, and we’re bowl eligible.  That’s the best thing about the win.  We’re very fortunate.”

South Carolina travels to Knoxville, TN to face Tennessee and look for their second straight win against the Volunteers.  The game will be at 7:45 ET on ESPN.  Vanderbilt hosts ACC opponent Georgia Tech.

USC – Vanderbilt Game Gallery

October 25, 2009

All photos © Shawn Rourk 2009

New Podcast for October 20, 2009

October 21, 2009

We’re talking the USC-‘Bama game this past weekend, the new BCS standings, Special jerseys for the USC-Fla. game, and Gamecocks in the NFL. We’re previewing Saturday’s shows and letting you know what going on in Section 26.

Section 26 Podcast for 10-20-09